Simulation results of an inductively-coupled rf plasma torch in two and three dimensions for producing a metal matrix composite for nuclear fuel cladding
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I propose to develop a new method for the synthesis of metal matrix composites (MMC) using aerosol reactants in a radio frequency (RF) plasma torch. An inductivelycoupled RF plasma torch (ICPT) may potentially be designed to maintain laminar flow and a radial temperature distribution. These two properties provide a method by which a succession of metal layers can be applied to the surface of SiC fibers. In particular, the envisaged method provides a means to fully bond any desired metal to the surface of the SiC fibers, opening the possibility for MMCs in which the matrix metal is a highstrength steel. A crucial first step in creating the MMC is to test the feasibility of constructing an ICPT with completely laminar flow in the plasma region. In this work, a magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) model is used along with a computational fluid dynamic (CFD) software package called FLUENT© to simulate an ICPT. To solve the electromagnetic equations and incorporate forces and resistive heating, several userdefined functions (UDF) were written to add to the functionality of FLUENT©. Initially, an azimuthally-symmetric, two-dimensional model was created to set a test baseline for operating in FLUENT© and to verify the UDF. To incorporate coil angle and current leads, a fully three dimensional model UDF was written. Preliminary results confirm the functionality of the code. Additionally, the results reveal a non-mixing, laminar flow outer region for an axis-symmetric ICPT.
Holik III, Eddie Frank (Trey) (2008). Simulation results of an inductively-coupled rf plasma torch in two and three dimensions for producing a metal matrix composite for nuclear fuel cladding. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from